Choose the wines. It’s important to pick a variety of wines because your guests may have different preferences. It will also give them a chance to try something new. Pick five or six wines only. Too many options will make them start to blend together, making it harder for guests to decide what they like.
Food. A must for any party. While you shouldn’t serve food during the wine tasting, your guests are going to want snacks after when they’re sipping their favorite wines. Food will prevent your guests from getting drunk off of the wine, as the food will help absorb the alcohol. Let your guests know the itinerary for the evening.
Wine glasses. Don’t worry about getting too fancy with the glasses. Simple stemware is fine. Clear glasses with stems allow your guests to see the wine, while not warming it. You can add wine glass markers or charms for fun.
Supplies. Have a few corkscrews on hand, one for opening the wine, and another just in case it breaks. You’ll also need a bowl or bucket for guests to spit or pour the wines they don’t like in. A wine chiller to serves white wines at the right temperature. White napkins will allow guests to see the color of the wines. A tasting grid to let guests write down notes about their favorites. A wine aerator to bring out the flavors of red wine. Crackers to serve in between wines to cleanse the palette.
Tasting the wines. Pour each guest a few sips of the wine, starting with the white and moving to red. Dessert wine should be tasted last. Tell them about the wine. Most wines have descriptions on the back, so that makes it much easier. Swirl the wine to allow it to “breathe, ” which will release the flavors and aroma. You can also have your guests tilt their glasses to see the “legs” of the wine. Sweeter wines flow more slowly down the sides. Wines with higher alcohol content will create droplets from the evaporation of the alcohol. How your guests take a sip of the wine, holding it in their mouths and swooshing it around for a few seconds. They can swallow it or spit it out. Allow the guests a moment to write notes and eat the crackers.
Serve the food. After the tasting, serve your guests the appetizers and snacks. Also, have bottles of the wines you used for the tasting for guests to enjoy more of their favorites.
Enjoy. Have fun with the wine tasting. Add your own unique touch to the party. There’s no perfect formula. Just enjoy the company of your guests.
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